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Meruny Cross, 200m SSW of Merther-Uny Farm

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Meruny Cross, 200m SSW of Merther-Uny Farm

List entry Number: 1010853

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Cornwall

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Gweek

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 22-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Jan-1995

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 24311

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross. A small group also occurs on the North York Moors. Relatively few examples have been recorded elsewhere and these are generally confined to remote moorland locations. Outside Cornwall almost all wayside crosses take the form of a `Latin' cross, in which the cross-head itself is shaped within the projecting arms of an unenclosed cross. In Cornwall wayside crosses vary considerably in form and decoration. The commonest type includes a round, or `wheel', head on the faces of which various forms of cross or related designs were carved in relief or incised, the spaces between the cross arms possibly pierced. The design was sometimes supplemented with a relief figure of Christ and the shaft might bear decorative panels and motifs. Less common forms in Cornwall include the `Latin' cross and, much rarer, the simple slab with a low relief cross on both faces. Rare examples of wheel-head and slab-form crosses also occur within the North York Moors group. Most wayside crosses have either a simple socketed base or show no evidence for a separate base at all. Wayside crosses contribute significantly to our understanding of medieval religious customs and sculptural traditions and to our knowledge of medieval routeways and settlement patterns. All wayside crosses which survive as earth- fast monuments, except those which are extremely damaged and removed from their original locations, are considered worthy of protection.

The Meruny Cross has survived well in its original position and forms a good example of a wheel headed wayside cross, bearing a distinctive and unusual style of decoration. The presence of this cross as a marker on the crossing of routes leading to the nearby medieval chapel of St Uny and the parish church at Wendron demonstrates well the major role of wayside crosses and shows the longevity of many roads still in use. The recorded tradition of burial associated with this cross shows one example of the part such crosses may play in local folklore.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes a medieval wayside cross, known locally as the Meruny Cross, and a protective margin around it, situated on a hillslope beside the road west of Mertheruny Mill. The cross is on a route from Wendron to the adjoining parish of Constantine in south west Cornwall, at the point where that route was crossed by a former track along the hillside to the medieval chapel of Merther-Uny, 250m to the north east, in whose churchyard is another erect medieval cross. The Meruny Cross is also a Grade II Listed Building. The Meruny Cross survives as an upright granite shaft with a round, `wheel' head standing to a height of 1.92m above ground level. The shaft is set firmly in a base-slab, recorded by earlier writers but now fully beneath the ground surface and covered by a thick turf. The head measures 0.44m high by 0.52m wide and is 0.23m thick. The north west face of the head has a narrow perimeter chamfer. Each face of the head bears a Latin cross motif delineated by incised lines. In the centre of each principal face and its cross is a small shallow hole 0.03m in diameter and 0.01m deep. The south east face has an additional incised line in each quadrant, running parallel to the outline of the cross motif. The lower limb of the incised cross motif is extended as a delineated rib down the shaft on both principal faces. On the south east face the rib is markedly off the midline to the right and terminates in an expanded foot close to the base of the shaft. On the north west face the rib curves slightly and has been damaged by an incised Ordnance Survey bench mark 0.92m below the neck of the shaft. The subrectangular section shaft measures 1.46m high, tapering from 0.34m wide by 0.25m thick at the base to 0.3m wide and 0.23m thick at the neck. Each corner of the shaft has a 0.06m wide chamfer.

The Meruny Cross is situated near the brow of Polglaze hill, south west of the medieval chapel and cemetery of St Uny, on a radial route south east from the parish church at Wendron, linking it with the neighbouring parish of Constantine. The historian Langdon in 1896 recorded that there was formerly a road leading from this cross to the medieval chapel at Merther-Uny. The course of this former road is continued south along the hillside by a surviving public footpath towards the headwaters of the Helford estuary at Gweek. Langdon also recorded a local tradition that a man was buried beneath this cross.

The metalled surface of the modern road passing south west of the cross but within the area of the protective margin is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Langdon, A G, Old Cornish Crosses, (1896)
Thomas, A C, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Merther Uny, Wendron, , Vol. 7, (1968), 81-2
Other
consulted 1994, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 24540,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map; SW 33/43/part 53; Pathfinder 1364 Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SW 70187 29131

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 25-Nov-2017 at 12:19:35.

End of official listing